Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Granny 3 Review

Super Granny 3, developed and published by Sandlot Games.
The Good: Simple controls, humorous atmosphere, large number of objects and puzzles, level editor
The Not So Good: Levels last just a bit too long, low resolution graphics
What say you? A somewhat interesting game with puzzles that are too tedious: 5/8

Old people are funny. They smell funny. They look funny. They walk funny. They drive funny. So they are an untapped resource for computer games, especially for those with a humorous tilt. Thankfully, the folks at Sandlot Games have stepped up to the plate with their third iteration of the Super Granny series. Super Granny 3 features an octogenarian that tries to navigate multi-level puzzles in an obsessive search for kitties. This game is similar to Professor Fizzwizzle, as the puzzles are full of stationary and mobile objects intended to keep your away from your prized cats. Will Super Granny 3 prove to be an attractive puzzle game that does the genre proud?

The graphics of Super Granny 3 are certainly underwhelming. The game has low resolution graphics that either makes most everything difficult to look at in windowed mode, or blocky in full screen mode. Super Granny 3 is rendered in 2-D and the game is devoid of any real special effects. There have been a number of pleasant-looking 2-D games (Eets for one), but Super Granny 3 does not impress, especially considering it is the third title in the series. The game does not need to be in 3-D, but it does need to look better. Fortunately, the sound in Super Granny 3 is better. The background music is forgettable, but the sounds effects are funny. They eventually get repetitive, but the first time you hear the various comments by Granny, the overall humor of the game shines through. It’s too bad that this level of quality does not extend to the graphics.

Super Granny 3 features a rather large collection of puzzles where you have to walk around collecting cats and avoiding enemies. The game is 2-D, so most of the puzzles are vertical in nature. Since Granny cannot jump, she must use ladders, beanstalks, or other objects to climb and fly to the higher levels. The basic premise is very straightforward and the game should be playable by multiple skill levels and ages. If the large compilation of maps isn’t enough, Super Granny 3 also has a level editor so that you can construct your own nefarious creations. The cats on each level must be collected and lead to the goal; once all of the cats are rescued, a warp point to the next level is opened. Extra points can be collected by passing by flowers. There are a number of different enemies present in the game: poodles, bulldogs, wiener dogs, monkeys, robots, and bats are all there to end your adventures prematurely. A game that portrays dogs as evil will get a thumbs up from me anytime! You can slow down the enemies, and access different parts of the puzzle, by digging holes: the enemies will fall into them, temporarily stopping them in their quest for blood. Coins collected during the game can be used to purchase a number of items: jet packs, shields, and monkey repellant are all available for purchase. Each puzzle also consists of a number of different objects, the amount of which almost rivals the inventory of Eets. Shopping bags for attacks, bombs, crates, gates, cages, springs, teleports, umbrellas, and even killer tomatoes are scattered throughout the game. All of these options in the game provide great variety in the puzzles, and makes the value of the level editor even more. Of course, there is really only one way to solve each puzzle, so in that sense Super Granny 3 lacks the replay value of games like Impulse. The main problem with Super Granny 3 is that the levels last too long and become tedious. Normally, there are an extreme number of cats to collect in each puzzle and they are scattered all over the place. I enjoy puzzle games that features a lot of levels but each individual level takes less than two minutes to complete. Puzzle games lend themselves more towards quick, short bursts of gameplay, and Super Granny 3 just overextends its welcome.

Super Granny 3 comes will all of the trappings needed for an effective puzzle game, but there are some faults with the execution. The game comes with a lot of puzzles and objects in each puzzle, and the addition of a level editor should extend the gameplay beyond the basic game. While I normally don’t care too much about graphics, it should be noted that Super Granny 3 is behind the times, utilizing a 2-D low-resolution package. The game has a good assortment of puzzles, but they last too long, bringing the gameplay from interesting to wearisome. Having smaller, more concentrated levels would go a long way in maintaining interest throughout the game. Using the level editor could easily fix this problem, so there is hope beyond the default game. A more polished presentation would result in Super Granny 3 being a must-have puzzle game, but as it stands, it is merely average.